New Jersey District Court Judge Bumb remanded the decision of Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Andrew Weiss today for failing to apply Social Security Ruling (“SSR”) 83-20 properly. The ALJ had determined that the claimant became disabled due to his mental disorders in March 2007 because that is when he started seeing a psychologist. I argued that there was no evidence showing that the claimant’s condition became worse in March 2007, and there was evidence showing that he was disabled by January 2005.
Judge Bumb agreed that the ALJ failed to explain why the claimant’s testimony was credible after March 2007, but not before then. Judge Bumb also agreed that the ALJ erred in finding the claimant did not take psychotropic medications until 2006 because the records revealed that he started taking them in 2004. Perhaps most importantly, Judge Bumb agreed that the ALJ erred in requiring contemporaneous medical records to support an onset date.
By refusing to accept a partially favorable decision from the ALJ, the claimant now has the potential of receiving many additional months and thousands of dollars in disability benefits. When receiving a partially favorable decision you should ask your attorney how many additional months of benefits are at stake.